It is another busy day at Jerez, with World Superbikes and MotoGP on track. Andrea Dovizioso is currently fastest, having dropped under Jorge Lorenzo's 2015 pole record thanks in no small part to the new grippy surface at the track. Dovizioso's Ducati teammate Jorge Lorenzo is currently second quickest, just outside his pole record, while Andrea Iannone is third. Tito Rabat continues to impress, currently fourth quickest ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Pol Espargaro.
It has been a very busy track at Jerez, with a total of 27 bikes on track at some point or other on Wednesday, with a good mixture of MotoGP, WorldSBK, and the Honda Racing BSB team of Jason O'Halloran and Dan Linfoot. What the first day of testing showed is that the WorldSBK bikes are almost as fast as a MotoGP machine – or at least, a Kawasaki is, shod with qualifiers and ridden with sufficient attitude by Tom Sykes in this case – and that the new surface means the track is a good deal quicker than it was when the MotoGP race was held here back in May. Full times are here.
As it is a private test, there is very little official communication from the teams, despite the fact that a group of journalists – including myself – is here in the paddock. KTM and Suzuki have been forthcoming and helpful, Ducati are cagey, Aprilia don't have much to test, and Honda are secretive – and all of the work is currently falling on Cal Crutchlow's shoulders, as the Repsol Honda team are saving their test days for next year. Honda are not as secretive as Yamaha, however, who are holding their private test over in Sepang, under a virtual media blackout. All we know about that is that Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales, Johann Zarco, and Kohta Nozane will be on the bike, as Jonas Folger is still not fit enough to be riding.
Andrea Iannone has topped the timesheets on the first day of combined testing for the MotoGP and WorldSBK classes at Jerez. The Suzuki rider made a push in the afternoon to take over top spot, and stayed there to the end. Cal Crutchlow took second spot, despite a very busy test schedule working on three different bikes (a 2017 bike, and two iterations of a 2018 bike), while Andrea Dovizioso just edged ahead of Ducati teammate Jorge Lorenzo to take third. The top four were close, however: just 0.138 separated Iannone from Lorenzo.
The Jerez circuit is packed, with 27 riders from 3 different series all cutting laps. Andrea Iannone is fastest overall on the Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP bike, already under Jorge Lorenzo race lap record. Tom Sykes has also matched that feat on the Kawasaki WorldSBK machine, a sign that the resurfaced track is a good deal quicker.
Press releases from the Aprilia and Althea teams after the first two days of testing at Jerez:
Milwaukee Aprilia begin 2018 preparations at Jerez test
Circuito de Jerez 21 / 11 / 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia have completed two days of valuable test running at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Less than three weeks after the WorldSBK 2017 finale at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar the team were back in action, utilising their experience of the year to continue developing and improving the Aprilia RSV4-RF.
Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the final test of the year:
Tech3 duo confidently wrap up Valencia test with positive conclusions
Moto2 rookie Bo Bendsneyder continued to impress and make leaps forward in his second track appearance aboard the Mistral 610. The promising Dutch rider proceeded to gel more with the bike and team in preparation for his debut season in 2018, before powering to a time that left him four tenths back from the top ten.
Testing for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes has wrapped up for the winter, as the riders completed the second and final day of testing at Valencia. It was the turn of the Italians to shine, with Pecco Bagnaia topping the timesheets in the Moto2 class, while Enea Bastianini took the honors in Moto3. Bagnaia was fractionally faster than Miguel Oliveira on the KTM, while Monday's fastest man Alex Marquez ended the test in third.
Tom Sykes ended the second day of the Jerez combined WorldSBK test as fastest, taking advantage of the absence of his Kawasaki Racing Team teammate, though he came up just four hundredths short of Rea's time. Rea was absent due to an appointment to collect the MBE he was awarded at Buckingham Palace.
Loris Baz made a massive leap forward on the Althea BMW, improving his time by nearly a second, taking second ahead of Eugene Laverty on the Milwaukee Aprilia, who was also six tenths quicker than he had been the day before.
Scott Smart was tasked with improving the show in 2018. Here the FIM Superbike Technical Director explains the thought process behind the new regulations
Scott Smart has been tasked with writing and rewriting the rule book for Superbikes around the planet. The FIM Superbike Technical Director has been instrumental in bringing about the recent regulation changes for WorldSBK, and speaking at the season ending Qatar round he explained the philosophy behind the changes.
“There's a lot of benefits to these changes but the biggest factor is that we want to find a way to have more exciting racing in WorldSBK,” explained Smart. “With the new regulations each team on the grid has the chance to run the same specification as the factory teams or to develop their own parts. This gives a private team the chance to have a bike with development work already having been completed by simply buying the relevant parts for their bike. This should improve reliability up and down the grid while also improving the quality of packages in the midfield which should improve the racing.
The WorldSBK and BSB riders kicked off the first day of a week-long test at Jerez. With the WorldSBK riders now working under the new rules, the teams are coming to grips with the rev limits put in place.
It didn't slow the KRT Kawasakis up much, however. Jonathan Rea was fastest, as he has been all year, posting a time just under seven tenths slower than his Superpole time back in October. Tom Sykes was second quickest, just over a third of a second behind his teammate, but over a second faster than Eugene Laverty on the Milwaukee Aprilia.